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The music of spaciousness

We talk about breathing space, but how often do we wait until we’re suffocating before we go and find some?

A life with no space in it feels – to me – like a life without music. It’s just non-stop noise. But we need pauses between verses, contrasts between notes, and changes of rhythm and tempo.

Lately I’ve been leaning into music as a positive resource (I’m having a bit of a fling with Tori Amos’ album Ocean to Ocean and Goldfrapp’s Silver Eye). I find that songs help to ease me back into a more expansive right-brained state, after a spell of left-brained focus. Music gives me a transitional space, when absolute quiet would feel too confronting.

I sometimes wonder if we resist letting go into spaciousness, because we fear there will be nothing to hold onto. But space isn’t empty; it’s full of possibility. It’s filled with the air element, which to me has always felt very mysterious.

Before I could embrace this sense of expansiveness, I had to learn to feel more grounded. Music grounds me in my embodied senses, and also frees me to expand beyond the hamster-wheel of goals and lists. As I was reminded (when a line of David Whyte’s poetry popped up in my meditation), ‘what you can plan is too small for you to live’. I lose sight of this when I forget to find spaciousness in my daily rhythm.

When I do remember, it can be as simple as stepping away from words and moving towards melody; or coming out of my cave and into the fresh air outside. Or taking a pause, ‘doing nothing’, before I launch myself into the next verse.

A few links if you want to explore further:

What to Remember When Waking’ poem by David Whyte

A recent post where I touched on ideas about right-brain and left-brain (or ‘whole-brained’) experiencing.

Supported by the Earth – on feeling more grounded

A piece I wrote about positive resources. This short video from Cathy Malchiodi is a good summary of four different types of positive resources, including music (she works in the field of trauma, but similar approaches are also helpful for what we call ‘stress’).

When I want to meditate with music, I like Byron Metcalf’s meditation collections called Inner Rhythm Meditations or his Trance Dance collection when I need some movement!)

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